The inaugural Domovina Birthright Program, which is a 16-day cultural and educational immersion tour of Croatia organised by the Croatian government, has started this week on Wednesday.
With the aim to strengthen ties between Croatia and Croatian communities around the world, 34 participants of Croatian descent between the ages of 18 – 30 arrived in Croatia this week for the Domovina Birthright Program to learn about their Croatian heritage, explore the beauty and excitement of Croatia, connect with their Croatian identity and meet other young Croatians.
Kristiana Banden, who is one of the inaugural participants, shares her photo report from the opening two days which saw the group start in the east of the country.
Day 1 – Ilok
First day of the Domovina Birthright Program we traveled from Zagreb to Ilok where we were welcomed by local students and the mayor or Ilok, Mayor Marina Budimir.
Mayor Marina Budimir and me (below) – Mayor Budimir was so welcoming and said a lovely speech.
Local Ilok students welcomed us with open arms and joined us for lunch before our Medieval historical and defender wall in Ilok and Ilok municipal museum visit.
Visiting vinyards at Principovac and tasting amazing wines – Rose Prosecco wine tasting.
My favourite was the Rose Prosecco.
Day 2 – Vukovar
An emotional and empowering day in Vukovar visiting the hospital, the memorial centre for Vukovar’s homeland war and the Ovacara Memorial Centre accompanied by veterans.
Visiting the Vukovarski vodotoranjin, one of the most famous symbols of the Homeland War.
Paying our respects at the Memorial Cemetery of the Victims of the Homeland War.
Domovina Birthright Program Participants.
A great way to start our trip. The battle of Vukovar is what founded the independence of Croatia and is absolutely important for all Croatian descendants to know the history. Speaking to local veterans of the war along with tours of the memorial sights gave us all a great perspective and a feeling of love for the strength of our country and what we have rebuilt and overcome.
You can follow Kristiana on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kristianabanden/ and #domovina2019 for more footage from the trip.